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author:("novick, P.J.")
1.  Extending the Administration Time of the Letter Fluency Test Increases Sensitivity to Cognitive Status in Aging 
Experimental aging research  2009;35(3):317-326.
We examined whether extending the administration time of letter fluency from one minute per letter trial (standard administration) to two minutes increased the sensitivity of this test to cognitive status in aging. Participants (mean age = 84.6) were assigned to cognitive impairment (n=20) and control (n=40) groups. Pearson correlations and scatter plot analyses showed that associations between the Dementia Rating Scale scores and letter fluency were higher and less variable when performance on the latter was extended to two minutes. ANOVA showed that the cognitive impairment group generated fewer words in the second minute of the letter fluency task compared to the control group. Finally, discriminant function analyses revealed that extending the letter fluency trials to two minutes increased discrimination between the control and cognitive impairment groups.
PMCID: PMC2832286  PMID: 19449244
letter fluency; aging; cognitive impairment
2.  The consequences of parasitic infection for the behavior of the mammalian host. 
As many as one billion people may be infected with animal parasites. The behavioral consequences of such infection, or of illness in general, is poorly understood. This issue is discussed using as an example infection of mice with Toxocara canis, the common roundworm of dogs. Current literature suggests that two-thirds of all dogs have been infected with this parasite, and 7% of all humans have antibodies to T. canis. T. canis completes its life cycle in dogs, but when it infects aberrant mammalian hosts (e.g., humans or mice), larvae migrate through various organ systems including the brain, where they can remain viable and mobile for extended periods of time. Changes in motor activity, sensory reactivity, and learning of mice infected with T. canis have been observed. The pattern of behavioral changes is influenced by the infection regime and exposure to other toxicants such as lead.
PMCID: PMC1474554  PMID: 3665867

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